Mixed reaction after ex-Bryanston High coach found not guilty of sexual assault

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PHOTO: Duncan Alfreds, News24
  • A former Bryanston High coach is relieved after a court ruling on Tuesday.
  • The court found him not guilty on all charges in a sexual assault case.
  • The mother of the complainant says the court's decision is heartbreaking.

The mother of the complainant in the sexual assault case against ex-Bryanston High coach - Aleshan Moodley, said the court's decision in finding him not guilty was heartbreaking.

"Words cannot possibly describe the devastation when one hears fabricated information spoken about you and your daughter. 

"This morning's announcement and the decision were heartbreaking. As a mother of a child who was violated, there's no possible reason to lie about something, which would take 28 months to receive closure on," the mother told News24 on Tuesday afternoon.

This comes after the Alexandra Magistrate's Court found Moodley, 33, not guilty on all charges in a sexual assault case.

The mother said: "This has been a journey which we've had very little support from the State, and I feel the judicial system has failed us throughout.

"I am, however, grateful for the support we had along the way from some individuals and WMACA (Women and Men against Child Abuse)," she added.

The court found that there were too many question marks in the complainant's evidence - and there was, therefore, "no evidence on which a reasonable man can convict".

As a result, the accused was found not guilty on all charges and was discharged.

Ex-Bryanston High coach's legal team reacts to the ruling.

The former Bryanston High coach was said to be relieved after the ruling.

"He is extremely relieved, he proclaimed his innocence from the outset, and he was convinced that he would be acquitted. We are very pleased that justice has been served today," his attorney, Ulrich Roux, told News24 on Tuesday afternoon.

READ | Court finds ex-Bryanston High sports coach not guilty in sexual assault case

Now that the criminal matter is finalised, Moodley's legal team says there are plenty of options to be explored with respect to further legal action.

Roux said their client's reputation had been tarnished and they were still awaiting instructions.

Roux said Moodley had not been working since he was dismissed from Bryanston High School - and "he has been searching high and low for employment", but has not been able to secure any, due to the pending case.

WMACA, which was present during judgment on Tuesday, and closely monitored the case, believe that a verdict of not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt did not translate into Moodley's innocence.

It simply means the State could not meet the burden of proof, and that is an inherent flaw in the criminal justice system with single victim cases, where it is one person's word against another, as it usually is in sexual assault matters.

"A person is innocent until proven guilty," the organisation said in a statement on Tuesday.

The organisation said there were initially three disclosures made in the Bryanston context.

"We cannot overlook the fact that he was found guilty in the SGB disciplinary, and was dismissed as a result.

"Two of the victims testified in that case. The third, as a result of the split, sadly ended up as a single witness in a criminal case, which created a high complexity to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. An acquittal does not mean someone is innocent, but that the guilt cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt."

ALSO READ | My child would not 'lie about this' - mother testifies in Bryanston High School sexual assault case

The coach was accused of sexual assault by three pupils at the school. This was followed by a 17-year-old and her mother opening a criminal case.

Moodley was subsequently dismissed from the school after a disciplinary panel found him guilty of sexual harassment and financial mismanagement.

The accused had pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of rape, sexual assault, and common assault.

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